Sample Retreat Resources

If there is one thing that can consistently be said about the P.R.A.Y. program, it is that it has always been taught in a variety of ways and in many different settings, i.e. at home with the family, in a classroom setting at church, or one-on-one with the pastor or an adult mentor. The P.R.A.Y. Program can even be done at a weekend retreat.

While it is possible to design retreat experiences around the P.R.A.Y. program, it takes careful planning and consideration to maintain the integrity of the program. Retreat settings are not always feasible. There are many issues to take into consideration, but a P.R.A.Y. Program retreat starts with the following assumptions:

  • Core requirements and guidelines will be upheld (not watered down)
  • Homework or pre-camp assignments will be required
  • Participants will be required to present their work to their pastors
  • Participants will receive a retreat patch. They will be responsible for ordering their own religious award after their pastors have approved their work.

One of the first challenges is to build a retreat that offers first and foremost the opportunity for spiritual growth. Yes, the retreat is based on the P.R.A.Y. curriculum, but the goal of the retreat is not to earn an award but to grow closer to Christ. A retreat is to build faith and make new friends. The retreat planning committee must look at the overall weekend experience and the worship atmosphere besides planning the nitty gritty details of fulfilling the award requirements. Providing free time to balance the heavy emphasis on lesson work is essential. Children will be expected to work hard in their small group sessions, but they will also be expected to play hard too. Retreats must build time for fun and fellowship in less structured activities. Different camps may present different opportunities for outdoor activities as well. It is the responsibility of the retreat planning committee to oversee these options.

It is assumed that the retreat planning committee will provide opportunity for community service. In some instances, campers have participated in ecology or camp improvement projects for the camp or nearby community. In other instances, campers have learned about a community-helping agency and then brought donations for it (i.e. stuffed animals, Bibles, canned goods, etc.).

It must also be noted that the individual lessons in the P.R.A.Y. curriculum incorporate a "hands on" component. Therefore each lesson includes its own craft project. Additional crafts may be used as options during free time.

The following options focus on specific program level. Only three options will be explored: God and Me, God and Family, and God and Church. Please note that all material presented here should not be used “as is” but adapted to fit your particular needs. Any questions? Please contact Deb Hazlewood at debh@praypub.org.


God and Me Sample Retreat

A God and Me retreat can be a one-day event with required parental attendance. To keep things simple, participants can be asked to bring their own sack lunches as well as a pencil case with scissors, glue, and markers or crayons.

When choosing a site, keep in mind that it would be helpful if the church had stained glass windows. One of the options in Lesson 2 suggests looking at stained-glass windows and then designing your own. This translates into a nice craft for the retreat.

The God and Me curriculum has four sections. Each section has two Bible lessons, a game that the children make and play, and a family project.  The lessons will run 1 hour and 15 minutes. Even though the fourth lesson includes a summary game of the whole program, a "round robin" format works well with this program.
 

Sample Retreat Schedule

This schedule makes the following assumptions

  • A parent/guardian will attend with their children
  • Participants will bring their own sack lunches
  • All games for the GAMEBoxes will be made at the retreat
  • Some requirements will be assigned as "homework"
  • Participants will be required to present their work to their own pastors
  • Participants will receive a retreat patch (they will be responsible for ordering their own religious award after their pastors have approved their work).
7:45 - 8:30 Registration / Health History / Stained-glass window craft
8:30 - 9:00 Worship – Opening Session
9:00 - 10:15 Session One
10:30 - 11:45 Session Two
12:00 - 12:45 Lunch / Games
1:00 - 2:15 Session Three
2:30 - 3:45 Session Four
4:00 Closing Presentation

Pre-Camp Assignments/Requirements

The following requirements will all be completed at camp unless otherwise noted. All games will be constructed at camp, but participants need to play their games with their families at home.

Section 1: God Created Me

  • God Said That It Was Good (Genesis 1:1 – 2:3)
  • God Calls Me by Name (Isaiah 43:1-2,4)
  • GAMEBox – Memory/Matching Game
  • Project – Poster of My Life (to be assigned BEFORE the retreat)

Section 2: Jesus Is God’s Gift to Me

  • Jesus is Born (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-35; Luke 2:1-20; Matthew 2:1-12)
  • Jesus Was Born to Be Our Savior (John 3:16)
  • GAMEBox – Guessing Game
  • Project – Stained-glass window craft

Section 3: I Can Talk with God

  • Jesus Prayed to God (Mark 1:35-37)
  • Memorize the Lord’s Prayer (notify participants BEFORE the retreat so that they may start on this requirement)
  • God Talks to Samuel (1 Samuel 3:1-10)
  • GAMEBox – Prayer Cube
  • Project – Prayer Rock (participants will receive and decorate a prayer rock, but the hiding game will be played at home with the entire family)

Section 4: Because God Cares for Me, I Can Care for Others

  • Jesus Is the Good Shepherd (Matthew 18:12-14)
  • Jesus Is a Friend to All (Luke 19:1-10)
  • GAMEBox – Board Game
  • Project – Your own choice (to be done at home after the retreat)

God and Family Sample Retreat

God and Family requires six teaching sessions and needs a full weekend format. Each teaching session should last an hour and a half (these sessions will be jam-packed with two Bible lessons and a craft to make a layer of the pizza).

Lessons 1 through 4 may be presented in a “round robin” format. These four lessons build the actual pizza. It’s best if the pizza is completely assembled before doing lesson 5 “Bake.” You may want to consider a special joint session for lesson 5.

Each of the six sessions in the God and Family program has an activity to be done "At Home This Week." Some of these activities will be done with the family BEFORE coming to camp. Others have been adapted for camp to be done with their new family groupings.
 

Sample Retreat Schedule

Note: This is not Troop camping. Registration is by individuals. Meals will be provided in the dining hall.

Friday

6:00 – 7:30 PM Registration / Cabin assignment
8:00 – 9:15 Session 1
9:30

Opening campfire / worship

Saturday

7:00 AM Rise and shine
7:30 – 8:30 AM Report to dining hall / Opening Devotions / Breakfast
8:45 – 10:15 AM Session 2
10:30 – 12:00 AM Session 3
12:00 – 1:30 PM Lunch / Games / Free Time
1:45 – 3:15 PM Session 4
3:30 – 5:00 PM Session 5
5:30 Dinner / Free time
8:30 Camp Fire / Skits / Snack
10:00 PM Return to lodges

Sunday

Before 9 AM Eat breakfast in cabin / pack / cabin inspection and checkout
9:00 – 10:15 AM Session 6 & Page-by-page review of workbook – dining hall
10:30 AM Closing ceremony and departure

Pre-Camp Assignments/Requirements

Each of the six sessions in the God and Family program has an activity to be done "At Home This Week." Some of these activities will be done with the family BEFORE coming to camp. Others have been adapted for camp to be done with their new family groupings. 

Session 1: Camp Project – choose an agency and ask families to bring items to camp to donate

Session 2: Family tree or crest - to be completed at home before coming to camp

Session 3: Nature walk - read Psalm 8

Session 4: 10 Commandment Bookmark – to be completed at home before coming to camp

Session 5: Greeting cards – make and send a card to something who could use a cheerful greeting

Session 6: Worship service at camp – families are invited

Assignments to be Completed BEFORE Coming to Camp:

  1. Bookmark – Become familiar with the Bible stories we will be studying at camp. You may already know many of these stories, but please take the time to read them again in your Bible. These Bible stories are listed on your bookmark. Your bookmark includes space to write down page numbers. As you look up these stories in your Bible, please take the time to write down the page numbers where you found the stories in your Bible. Keep your bookmark in your Bible so you will be sure to bring it with you to camp!
  2. Family Tree or Family Crest – This project is designed to help you celebrate your family heritage. You are asked to make a family tree or a family crest*. Please include favorite memories, photographs, or descriptions of family members. Bring your completed project to camp.

    ​*A family crest shows the positive traits or history of a family. You may use your own design or the sample provided to create your own family crest. Draw a shield on a large poster-size sheet of paper. Choose a family color for the cross. Then include pictures, words and/or photographs in the labeled sections as follows:
    1. A strong virtue or character trait of your family.
    2. Something your family enjoys doing together
    3. A favorite memory
    4. A favorite Bible verse
  3. Ten Commandments – We will be studying (and memorizing!) the Ten Commandments. Make your own bookmark with the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments can be found in your Bible in Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21.Talk to your parents or pastor if there is a special version that you should use. Be sure to use a shortened version!

God and Church Sample Retreat

A successful retreat format for the God and Church program would actually involve two different events: a weekend retreat to kick off the program, and a one-day workshop (three or four months later) to wrap things up. There is no way that the God and Church award can be earned in one weekend. There is no way that the God and Church award can be earned without the input from the participant’s own clergy and congregation. Therefore, having two different events spaced three or four months apart, allows participants to work with their pastors on specific assignments. The weekend retreat will help participants to complete about half of the requirements and film the video. The one-day workshop gives everybody a target deadline for all assignments to be completed and allows participants to share their work with each other.
 

Sample Retreat Schedule

Note: This is not Troop camping. Registration is by individuals. Meals will be provided in the dining hall. Participants will complete half of the God and Church requirements. The other half must be completed at home with their pastor and congregation. A second follow-up meeting is required.

Friday

6:00 – 7:30 PM Registration / Health check / Cabin assignment
8:00 – 9:30 Session: Lesson 1
9:30 Opening campfire

Saturday

7:00 AM Rise and shine
7:30 – 8:30 AM Report to dining hall / Opening devotions / Breakfast
8:45 – 10:15 AM Session: Lesson 2
10:30 – 11:30 Session: Produce Video
Noon – 1:30 Lunch / Games / Free Time
1:45 – 3:15 PM Session: Lesson 4
3:30 – 5:00 PM Session: Lesson 6
5:30 Dinner / Free time
8:30 Camp Fire / Skits / Snack
10:00 PM Return to lodges

Sunday

Before 9:00 AM Eat breakfast in cabin / clean / pack / cabin inspection and checkout explanation of "homework" assignments
9:30 AM Closing worship service (each cabin will be in charge of a portion of the service)

Pre-Camp Assignments/Requirements

Unit I – My Journey: Meeting Christ

Lesson 1: Meeting Jesus the Person (Camp)

Lesson 2: Meeting Jesus, the Son of God (Camp)

Lesson 3: Meeting Jesus, the Head of the Church (Home)

  • Learn the history of your congregation & denomination
  • Memorize a creed or statement of belief or scripture
  • Photo Album

Video Requirement (Unit I) (Camp)

Project I: Daily Bible Reading (Home)

Unit II – My Journey: Worshiping God

Lesson 4: Learning how Christ Worshiped God / Photo Album (Camp)

Lesson 5: Exploring How My Congregations Worships / Photo  Album (Home)

Project II: Discovering How I Can Worship God

Help plan and lead a worship experience (Camp)

 Visit other churches and attend their worship services (Home)

Unit III – My Journey: Witnessing and Ministering for Christ

Lesson 6: Learning How Christ Witnessed and Ministered / Photo Album (Camp)

Lesson 7: Exploring How My Congregation Witnesses / Photo Album (Home)

Project III: Discovering How I Can Witness & Minister

  • Invite someone to church (Home)
  • Volunteer in your congregation (Home)
  • Volunteer in your community (Camp)